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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, March 9, 2012 at 9:38 PM

Friday afternoon finally brought national powers like Kentucky, North Carolina, and Michigan State to the floor for the first time this week. All won and advanced to their respective conference semifinals. Only Kentucky had to sweat…and that was because they had the misfortune of drawing LSU in New Orleans! Let’s crunch the numbers from early Friday action. As always, we’ll take the games in rotation order…




Shooting Pct: Maryland 39%, N. Carolina 51%

Three-Pointers: Maryland 8/24, N. Carolina 7/15

Free Throws: Maryland 13/21, N. Carolina 16/26

Rebounds: Maryland 29, N. Carolina 35

Phantom Score: Maryland 61, N. Carolina 83

Turnovers: Maryland 13, N. Carolina 10

Vegas Line: North Carolina by 15, total of 152

Pomeroy Rank: Maryland 123, N. Carolina 6

You’ll often see a top seed come out lethargically in their first game after a long layoff. And, a sharper 8-9 seed catches them napping. Not the case here, as Carolina had edges across the board. For you newcomers, Phantom Score is simply two-point scoring plus rebounding. It often comes close to matching the final score (as it did here). When it doesn’t, Phantom Score typically has better predictive value going forward. Carolina can be had in games where they get sloppy with the ball and miss too many free throws. Not an issue here…but at some point between now and the Final Four of the Big Dance, they’re going to have at least one game like that they’ll have to survive.


Shooting Pct: NC State 54%, Virginia 43%

Three-Pointers: NC State 5/15, Virginia 2/12

Free Throws: NC State 8/18, Virginia 16/20

Rebounds: NC State 28, Virginia 33

Phantom Score: NC State 72, Virginia 75

Turnovers: NC State 11, Virginia 10

Vegas Line: Virginia by 3.5, total of 120.5

Pomeroy Rank: NC State 48, Virginia 25


Big win for State, who’s still on the bubble for the Big Dance. Joe Lunardi had them amongst the first four out entering the day. But, enough teams in the mix are struggling that this win could almost push them in. An upset of North Carolina Saturday would seal the deal. Good shooting game for State inside the arc, as they hit 54% for the game despite hitting just 33% from long range. Free throw shooting was a nightmare though…which would make it even tougher to protect a late lead if they do get any sort of lead vs. the Tar Heels. We don’t really see the Wolfpack as a tournament quality team. But, there aren’t enough of those to go around this year anyway! Gotta give credit to a team that won as a dog during a week where other bubble teams were losing as favorites.




Shooting Pct: Massachusetts 44%, Temple 46%

Three-Pointers: Massachusetts 9/16, Temple 7/17

Free Throws: Massachusetts 14/20, Temple 12/15

Rebounds: Massachusetts 27, Temple 36

Phantom Score: Massachusetts 63, Temple 74

Turnovers: Massachusetts 13, Temple 22

Vegas Line: Temple by 7.5, total of 153

Pomeroy Rank: Massachusetts 97, Temple 34

Last week we mentioned that Temple was very much in danger of coming in flat. They had locked in a Dance bid, and they were going to have trouble getting motivated in a conference where they were probably a bit overrated to begin with. Not really a surprise here that MASS rose up and stunned them. Still, Phantom Score shows Temple by more than the Vegas spread. They won the nuts and bolts stuff but were shockingly bad in the turnover category. That sure suggests a lack of focus. How many #1 seeds would lose the ball 22 times against a #8 seed. Bad sign for the Dance. At least you know they’ll be more focused next time.


Shooting Pct: St. Joseph’s 43%, St. Bonny 54%

Three-Pointers: St. Joseph’s 9/22, St. Bonny 1/8

Free Throws: St. Joseph’s 13/18, St. Bonny 16/23

Rebounds: St. Joseph’s 23, St. Bonny 33

Phantom Score: St. Joseph’s 51, St. Bonny 85

Turnovers: St. Joseph’s 4, St. Bonny 11

Vegas Line: St. Joseph’s by 2, total of 135

Pomeroy Rank: St. Joseph’s 64, St. Bonny 61

St. Joe’s was probably a longshot to make the Dance given their bubble position. No way they make it now with a quarterfinal loss to a team that won’t be Dancing. Another bubble team loses as a favorite! The St. Joe’s offense was very soft inside, allowing 54% shooting for the game even tough St. Bonny was only 1 of 8 on treys. Look at Phantom Score! If St. Joe’s hadn’t nailed a bunch of treys this would have been a blowout. Good stuff from St. Bonny outside of the turnover category. The winner of UMASS/St. Bonny will have a chance to steal an extra bid for the league…as we outlined was possible in our conference tournament preview.




Shooting Pct: Iowa 43%, Michigan State 58%

Three-Pointers: Iowa 10/20, Michigan State 8/18

Free Throws: Iowa 19/26, Michigan State 20/27

Rebounds: Iowa 21, Michigan State 35

Phantom Score: Iowa 47, Michigan State 83

Turnovers: Iowa 9, Michigan State 11

Vegas Line: Michigan State by 11.5, total of 134.5

Pomeroy Rank: Iowa 88, Michigan State 3

Not much to say because it was such a rout. Phantom Score paints a better picture of how one-sided this game felt. Michigan State’s done a good job late in the season of keeping the hammer down against lesser teams. Not perfect of course. But, it’s easy for a grinder team to play to the level of their competition. Outside of the second half of the Ohio State game, Michigan State has mostly maintained a championship level. Let’s see if they can do that vs. Wisconsin and the winner of the other half of the bracket.


Shooting Pct: Indiana 49%, Wisconsin 48%

Three-Pointers: Indiana 3/6, Wisconsin 13/26

Free Throws: Indiana 18/22, Wisconsin 12/16

Rebounds: Indiana 26, Wisconsin 26

Phantom Score: Indiana 70, Wisconsin 54

Turnovers: Indiana 10, Wisconsin 5

Vegas Line: Indiana by 1, total of 122.5

Pomeroy Rank: Indiana 10, Wisconsin 7

Wow….13 of 26 on treys! Nobody loses when they do something like that. Wisconsin was +30 in scoring differential from long range. Indiana did a pretty good job of hanging tough all things considered. Be careful falling in love with the Badgers, as we heard some media types do. Everybody looks great when the treys are falling…but nobody can maintain that kind of percentage for a long duration. Indiana was still in shock from losing a team leader to a knee injury in the Penn State game. That might have impacted their ability to guard the perimeter. Wisconsin won’t be facing any more teams in shock. Though, they’ll have a chance to put Michigan State in shock with a Saturday upset.




Shooting Pct: LSU 29%, Kentucky 43%

Three-Pointers: LSU 3/14, Kentucky 1/8

Free Throws: LSU 8/10, Kentucky 23/33

Rebounds: LSU 32, Kentucky 39

Phantom Score: LSU 66, Kentucky 73

Turnovers: LSU 9, Kentucky 18

Vegas Line: Kentucky by 17, total of 130

Pomeroy Rank: LSU 98, Kentucky 1

Even in a game they had to sweat, Kentucky was able to guard the basket with a passion. LSU couldn’t even break 30%!. Turnovers and poor three-point shooting were a problem for the Wildcats. When media types tell you Kentucky has a complete game…point them to this boxscore. They have vulnerabilities like everyone else…but it was hidden partially by playing in a weak conference. We don’t want to suggest Kentucky is a pretender. They’re less of a pretender than a lot of other teams. Our point is that EVERYONE has vulnerabilities. Kentucky can get sloppy with the ball, and you don’t survive many games in the Big Dance with 1 of 8 from behind the arc. Somebody can get them in the Sweet 16 or later.


Shooting Pct: Alabama 53%, Florida 39%

Three-Pointers: Alabama 3/8, Florida 10/30

Free Throws: Alabama 12/16, Florida 16/19

Rebounds: Alabama 30, Florida 25

Phantom Score: Alabama 72, Florida 45

Turnovers: Alabama 10, Florida 5

Vegas Line: Florida by 4, total of 128

Pomeroy Rank: Alabama 29, Florida 18

Odd game…with Florida shooting a zillion more treys, and making just enough to make it worth their while (30% on treys is the same as 45% on deuces). Phantom Score went to Alabama huge because they did all of their attacking inside. But, they lost five extra possessions because of turnovers. Basically a classic case of two extreme styles cancelling out and leading to a nailbiter. Both teams are in the Dance. Florida will need to shoot better than 33% on treys to beat Kentucky Saturday.


That wraps up our look at daytime results from Friday. We strongly encourage you to study the night time boxscores so you can make intelligent decisions in Saturday’s action. If you’d like some help finding BIG JUICY WINNERS, call JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK at 1-800-323-4453. Saturday’s plays will go up a couple of hours before first tip here at the website if you’d like to try things out.

There are eight tournament championships that will be up for grabs Saturday. When championships are on the line, YOU NEED WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!

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